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Vancouver Whitecaps News and Notes

A summary of Whitecaps news to begin the 2017 MLS season

MLS: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

There are several small stories that come up from time to time that we do not get to cover here. Instead of creating several separate articles, I thought I would pool them all into one. Depending on the interest from readers, this might be a one-time thing or become more regular. Let’s get started.

Home Opener

The Vancouver Whitecaps are set to open their 2017 home schedule Thursday night, when they host the New York Red Bulls in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. A victory or a 0-0 draw sees the Whitecaps through to the semi finals and a date with Mexican squad Pumas UNAM or Tigres UANL.

The Whitecaps follow up the Thursday evening match with their MLS home opener on Sunday against Philadelphia Union. This might be a bit odd for Whitecaps fans as the past few seasons have seen the club start off against one of their Canadian foes. Regardless, it should be a great match.

If you have yet to take in a match at BC Place, I highly recommend it. While it only reached 99th place, a Vancouver Whitecaps match was touted as one of the top 100 North American stadium experiences. Only Portland Timbers (11th), Sporting Kansas City (13), and Seattle Sounders (29th) made the list from MLS. Quite the recognition for the Whitecaps and Cascadia in general.

While not of the same prestige as some, the experience at BC Place has been compared to other great soccer stadiums, including Camp Nou in Barcelona.

New Roster Rules

Major League Soccer announced today that teams will now be able to carry 30 players (up from 28 last season) on their main roster. The change is the addition of 2 homegrown player slots.

MLS rosters now consist of

  • 20 ‘senior’ positions: count against the 3.845 million cap
  • 4 ‘supplemental’ positions: minimum salary of $65,000 and can be homegrown, generation Adidas, SuperDraft or senior player
  • 4 ‘reserve’ positions: minimum $53,000 and cannot be generation Adidas nor senior player. Must be 24 or younger
  • 2 ‘homegrown’ positions must be homegrown players.

This is good news for the Whitecaps as they currently have HG Russell Teibert, Alphonso Davies, Marco Bustos, Ben McKendry, and Sam Adekugbe. This allows two of those players (e.g., Bustos and McKendry) to fill those 2 additional roster positions and free up 2 reserve or supplemental roster positions.

Even with the recent addition of Mauro Rosales, the Whitecaps have plenty of roster space left, thanks to this change, injury to Brett Levis, and the loan of Sam Adekugbe.

Canadians as Domestics

You may recall that earlier this off-season it was announced that some Canadian players would be counted as domestics for all MLS squads. I don’t want to get into the details, but needless to say, it was very convoluted. The argument made by MLS has always been about labor laws, but that reason has always been questioned.

Earlier this month, North American Soccer League (NASL) joined United Soccer League (USL) in counting all Canadian and American players as domestic for all teams. This further reinforces the belief that MLS has limited the number of Canadian players for reasons beyond law. To be fair, despite MLS having 3 Canadian squads now, it was initially setup to support and grow American soccer, so it makes sense that they would focus on American players. We can see the same thing with Canadian USL squads, which require not only a specific number of Candians to be rostered, but also to be on the field at one time. If the Canadian Premier League ever gets running, I suspect/expect that American players will not count as ‘domestics’.

Marco Carducci Out with Minnesota

After being released in December, Vancouver Whitecaps product Marco Carducci was a trialist with new MLS franchise Minnesota. While the keeper saw some time with Minnesota during the preseason, it looks like it wasn’t enough to obtain a contract. It was announced today by Adrian Heath that Carducci was no longer with the squad. It will be interesting to see if he connects with a NASL or USL squad like Callum Irving, or if he heads overseas.

Adam Straith Comes Home (Sort of)

Former Whitecaps Residency product and Canadian National Team defender Adam Straith signed with FC Edmonton this week. This comes after spending the last eight years in Germany and Norway. Good to have a Canadian product playing close to home again.

Manneh as a Winger

There have been many that have complained that Kekuta Manneh’s talents have been wasted playing him on the wing. Out of necessity, it appears that Manneh will play more centrally this season, however, MLS analyst Matt Doyle discussed the rise of the goal-scoring winger and why they have become a staple in the league. Could it be that Robbo was operating under this philosophy as well? Probably. Anyway, it would be good to check out the short, one-minute, video.

And there you have it! That was a bit longer than I expected, but let me know what you think in the comments. Do you like the idea of a Whitecaps News Wrap Up, or would you prefer each receive their own article?

Any of the above stories catch your interest? Thoughts on any?